Wife turned on by naked women

Jay Dee

Wife turned on by naked women

Mar 03, 2015

This question came through on a survey comment, and I’m finally getting around to addressing it. I am a heterosexual married woman, and never been with anyone besides my husband. However, the sight of bare female breasts turns me on. I don’t seek it out

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Anonymous QuestionThis question came through on a survey comment, and I’m finally getting around to addressing it.

I am a heterosexual married woman, and never been with anyone besides my husband. However, the sight of bare female breasts turns me on. I don’t seek it out through porn, but if I happen to watch a movie. Do other Christian women experience this? My husband is well aware of this, and he is not worried. Just wondered if other women experience this.

Luckily, there is actually a fair bit of research in the field of human sexuality to explain this, so I don’t have to guess.

Differences in sexual response in men and women

Turns out that men and women respond differently to sexual stimuli (no surprise there).  It’s such a well known fact, at least in the human sexuality field, that they have scientific names to describe the differences.  The ones we’re looking for are category-specific and category-nonspecific response patterns and also sexual concordance.

There is a research paper devoted to these topics by Kelly D. Suschinsky called “An Exploration of Genital Arousal Category-Specificity and Sexual Concordance in Men and Women“.  I’ll distill down what I know for you, so you don’t have to wade through the entire paper.

Category-Specificity is a term that describes what categories of stimuli arouse you.

Sexual Concordance is how closely your psychological arousal matches your physiological arousal.

Category-specificity

Category-specificity is a term to describe the categories of stimuli that arouse a person.

Men have a fairly strong category-specificity.  In general, human males are aroused by human females.  However, it’s not that simple.  Arousal levels change depending on the subject and the context.  For example, if the female is a child, the vast majority of men will not experience arousal.  Attractiveness also plays a role, as well as state of undress.  If the woman appears receptive to sexual advance, that increases arousal dramatically, however if the woman appears to be coerced, or is being forced against her will, then most males will not be aroused (unfortunately, porn use conditions many men to still experience arousal in these cases).

Women, on the other hand, do not have a strong category-specificity.  In some studies, the sight of a naked male doing yoga, or some similar activity produced no more arousal than a mountain landscape image.  However, viewing a woman doing yoga, generally produces physical arousal.  Why is this?  One theory is that women are more keyed to sensuality rather than sexuality, and that the shape of a woman doing yoga is far more sensual than that of a man (I can’t argue with that one).  Also, women are less context specific.  While men tend to not get aroused if they view a video, or listen to an audio tape of a forced sexual encounter, most women, even though they may be psychologically repulsed, will still experience sexual arousal.

The currently theory on the differences between category-specificity in women and men is this:  In theory, men only experience consensual sex (from their perspective).  If they want sex, they have it, if they don’t, they don’t…because they physically cannot without an erection (I’m not saying men can’t be raped, just saying it’s far less likely).  Women, on the other hand, have a far higher potential to experience non-consensual sex, because there is nothing physically stopping a man who wants to from penetrating her.  So, the theory, based on evolutionary principles, is that women have evolved a self-preservation mechanism, that when they sense something that might indicate sexual activity might occur, they experience physical arousal, in order that they might protect themselves, the assumption being that sex is going to happen, so the body might as well make it as least harmful as possible by lubricating itself.

That’s the evolutionary explanation.  Since scientists, who believe in evolution, are leading this research, they’ve had a lot longer to think about the problem from their perspective than I have.  I’m afraid I don’t have a non-evolutionary explanation yet, but still, the data is sound, even if I disagree with the reasoning.

Point is, to the person who asked the question:  You aren’t alone, this is fairly typical for your gender.

Sexual Concordance

As well, we have to keep in mind that in women, there is a looser tie between feeling aroused mentally and feeling aroused physically than there is generally in men.  It is far more likely for women to feel aroused, but show no physical signs.  And the opposite is true, you can get physical aroused by seeing something, even if you aren’t mentally aroused.  In fact, it is quite possible for a woman absolutely revolted by something and yet have a physical arousal response to that same thing, which I’d imagine is quite confusing.

To answer your question

So, is it a problem?  No, I don’t think so.  I think you’re probably just connected to sensual imagery.  It doesn’t mean you’re same-sex attracted, or anything like that.  In fact, sounds like you’re pretty normal.  I’m glad you pointed out that you aren’t out looking for naked women.  But, on those cases when you stumble across it, you may be interested in the post What do I do if I get turned on by someone/something other than my spouse?

Your Turn

Were you aware of this difference in the genders?

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26 thoughts on “Wife turned on by naked women”

  1. Lori says:

    “we have to keep in mind that in women, there is a looser tie between feeling aroused mentally and feeling aroused physically than there is generally in men.”
    Is it typical for a man to find an image mentally arousing but have no physical reaction aka erection? I thought the two went hand in hand but my husband says it doesn’t.  

    1. Jay Dee says:

      No, it doesn’t always. The tie is generally stronger in men, but I doubt it’s always a 1 :1 correlation in anyone. Of course for those with ED, the correlation is even weaker. It can be extremely frustrating to be aroused and have no physical response. And for most of us men, particularly when in our teens, we can have a physical response for seeming no reason, which can be quite embarrassing.
      Of course, the most frustrating is when you get an erection for no reason, and then can’t when you have cause.

      1. libl says:

        My hubby can mentally want to have sex with me but physically not want to. I can be the same way, and even reverse: physically desire sex, but mentally no way (usually when mad).

        Women turn me on, too, more so than men. Part of it is conditioning…We are taught early on that women are inherently beautiful, sexual, and erotic. Part of it is nature….women are beautiful to look at. Part of it is because I am a woman and can experience the sensuality of my own nudity/sexuality and relate it to or through hers.

        My hubby (claims) says he can see a naked woman and not care, say in a movie. I get highly anxious, and often aroused, so I cannot watch movies with sex/nudity. (I think it is wrong to, anyway, whether or not arousal or indifference occurs).

        I love large breasts, but am small, myself, so I love looking at large breasts.

        I have also fantasized about other women sexually, so while I identify as heterosexual, I believe, without the leading of the Lord in my life, I would have identified as bisexual. But, that is much bigger than just being aroused by nudity in general, male or female.

        Exposed nudity, especially in sexually charged situations, is just naturally arousing.

      2. Dan says:

        Amen. Preaching to the choir there, Brother. I have never asked my wife about her response to a naked woman, but if she is that would be one more thing we could agree on. 🙂 I wonder if women who are turned on by naked women are more understanding or empathetic of their husband’s desire to see them (their wife) naked? I also wonder if those women have body image issues that cause them to judge themselves so harshly as seems to be the case and if they are able to believe their husbands aren’t judging them harshly? The bottom line of those questions would seem to be, “Do women who get turned on by other naked women’s bodies or body parts have a greater love and acceptance of their own bodies and body parts?” That’s an interesting discussion topic with extensive and deep ramifications. How many women feel this way but deny their feelings out of fear it signals lesbian leanings when it may not? What if they allowed those feeling to be felt and understood? Would it help them with body image issues and nudity around their husbands? Would they come to terms with their bodies and love them as their husbands do? There’s a survey in there somewhere.

        1. Keelie Reason says:

          I would say that as a woman, when I see a woman, especially, that is really beautiful and in a sexual situation, I over analyse the way I look. I don’t know why it is this way, but it’s almost like, if she is beautiful, that means I’m not. For men, it is different. You aren’t comparing yourselves to the way the woman looks. So you can look at a lot of beautiful women, and think, they are beautiful. For a woman to look at a lot of beautiful women, generally they think, they are beautiful, and I don’t look like them, so I can’t be beautiful. If that is what you have to look like to be sexy, then I don’t make the cut. Such a weird line of thinking, I know. It could be this way for men, however. If you see a bunch of other successful guys that are good looking or whatever, do you think, good for them? Or do you think, man I’m a looser compared to that guy? If that is what women want in a man, I don’t have it.

          For me, I’ve never had a hard time understanding why my husband wants to see me naked. I don’t think I’ve ever had a hard time understanding that he is a man and he thinks women are attractive. I get it. Maybe I get it because my mom was so proactive in telling me that my husband would want to see me naked and I should be comfortable in doing that.

          So, I don’t know really what all women think when they see a naked woman and feel turned on. I know I think it is normal, but then immediately remove myself from the situation. Just because it is normal, doesn’t make it right. Nothing should be turning me on other than my desire for my husband.

        2. libl says:

          To answer your questions, no it does not help with body image issues. Makes it worse, I think. Yes, I am more understanding of the male plight, but not sympathetic. In fact, more troubled and discouraged because I know what they feel and go through. So much so that should I become widowed I have no desire to remarry because it hurts too much to be so vulnerable to a man who doesn’t do his utmost to guard his eyes and heart. Hypocritical? Perhaps, but it is how I feel.

  2. Keelie Reason says:

    To the reader with the question, I too am a woman and feel sexually aroused when I see other naked women. However, it really depends upon the situation. I do not view porn, but you can’t help but see naked women on occasion. I would say that if I’m scrolling through something and I just see a naked woman or a portion of her is naked, I may or may not feel aroused. It really depends on if the situation is sexualized. I was doing a project on Africa a few years ago, and I ran across pictures of African women without shirts on. Didn’t feel at all aroused, and it really didn’t bother me. However, you put a woman in a sexual situation, and I’m going to feel turned on. In movies, most often, a women is getting naked because of some sexual scenario. Maybe not across the board, but by the time you see the woman bare her all, you’ve likely had an emotional connection to the love story, which will cause you to feel more aroused.

    Well, that is just how it goes for me. I know it is normal for all women to be aroused by naked women in the right context.

    1. Chris Tian says:

      I just said in a post, I think it’s an empathy thing. I wouldn’t feel that so much if I saw a girl that’s not from the same racial background as me but if I do, then I feel more arousal. I think because if she looks like me and is aroused, I feel the same because I empathise with her, not because I’m attracted to her. Your post put that in even more context for me so thanks. xx

    2. annie says:

      I agree with the empathy aspect, I think I relate to the woman in a sensual way, causing me to reflect on how I feel in similar situations. I really enjoyed nursing my children so similarly when I see bare breasted nursing mothers I have that warm glowy oxytocin feel. Also women’s bodies are just more appealing in general so I think its a natural human reaction either way, take for instance the prevalence of the curvy nudes that have appeared in classical art through the ages.

      1. Keelie Reason says:

        Oh yeah, I definitely believe that all men or woman can be aroused by someone of the same sex given the right context. I also think that there are plenty of times when a man or woman won’t get aroused by nakedness if the right context. For example, I’m sure doctors don’t get aroused when they see their patients naked. Maybe sometimes, if there is a real attraction there, but in general, I would say that the person is just naked. However, if you put a sexual context around the nakedness, then I think people will feel aroused, even despite gender. Of course, I can only speak from a woman’s perspective. I don’t think it is weird to be turned on by a naked individual in a sexual context. I think women can feel turned on by a woman dressed in a sexy outfit if she is in the right context.

        Hope that clears it up a bit. Although maybe not. 😀

    3. Dan says:

      Brave response there, Keelie. I am wondering though about the last sentence, ” I know it is normal for all women to be aroused by naked women in the right context.” Do you truly believe that or are you “under-explaining” yourself. When you say “right context” are you alluding back to the movie scenario where the sexuality of the scene is arousing and seeing the female body responding is what a woman may find arousing. I am trying see if there is a fine line between the body alone and the sexual scenario that makes the difference for many women.

      1. Keelie Reason says:

        Oh yeah, I definitely believe that all men or woman can be aroused by someone of the same sex given the right context. I also think that there are plenty of times when a man or woman won’t get aroused by nakedness if the right context. For example, I’m sure doctors don’t get aroused when they see their patients naked. Maybe sometimes, if there is a real attraction there, but in general, I would say that the person is just naked. However, if you put a sexual context around the nakedness, then I think people will feel aroused, even despite gender. Of course, I can only speak from a woman’s perspective. I don’t think it is weird to be turned on by a naked individual in a sexual context. I think women can feel turned on by a woman dressed in a sexy outfit if she is in the right context.

        Hope that clears it up a bit. Although maybe not. 😀

        1. d says:

          Thanks for responding to the question, Keelie. It clears up your attitude about this quite well for me.

  3. Ricky says:

    Women are beautiful creatures. Not surprised at all. It’s a slight double standard though. I can see a guy that is obviously attractive in the eyes of society and note that and my friends (guys) get super uncomfortable lol. I’m super comfortable in my sexuality. I can state a man or a woman is attractive without wanting to have mental or physical sex with them.

    1. Garret says:

      I agree. As a man, I can appreciate the beauty of both men and women, and this not about wanting to have sex with them. Culturally, it is easier to admit I find women attractive. People do seem to get uncomfortable when men acknowledge each other’s attractiveness.

  4. Lori says:

    Thanks Jay Dee for your response; it’s very helpful. “It can be extremely frustrating to be aroused and have no physical response.”. This happens often w my husband and it’s hard for me to understand. He is dealing with ED issues. I’m getting my head aroud not taking it personally.

  5. Erynn Haskins says:

    Everything you mentioned makes total sense. I think most women can relate to her feelings and its nice to know that its something that is normal and has a scientific explanation.

  6. Bradley D. Watson says:

    I think topics like this is one of the reasons it is so important for a couple to be able to communicate about their sexuality. The Bible tells us as men to live with our wives with understanding (I Pet. 3:7). If this topic or any other topic is difficult to talk about, that verse becomes impossible.
    Thank you Jay for you diligent study on tough topics.

  7. Chris Tian says:

    Hi I’m going to be honest here and admit that I’ve had lesbian experiences in the past (I was confused but sought Christ and counselling and this is no longer a part of my life, I am now happily married and my husband is aware of my past). I have also viewed pornography and when I do I always view women with women or women alone, at first I thought this was because I was still experiencing issues but it’s not true at all. I would look at female pornography because it is more gentle and sensuous. The women aren’t calling each other names or degrading each other, it’s just them and often you can see the women are more aroused which (for want of a better word) makes the viewing more pleasurable. I learnt that watching such things had nothing to do with the women in the videos but rather all to do with me and my feelings and my desires to be touched gently by a man (now my husband) and how I like to feel when I’m aroused. So it’s more an empathy thing and I think that’s what women are responding to, it is not the same as being attracted to that person. I’d just like to make it clear I’m sharing my experiences here, I’m not encouraging or condoning pornography and for the record I didn’t enjoy my experiences, they left me empty and miserable but I’m grateful that Jesus brought me through that dark time safely and back into His arms and not a lost eternity. There is salvation available for all who want it even those who struggle with homosexuality, Jesus can heal and save. 🙂 xx

  8. Joseph says:

    Good article. In your comment about evolution reasons ” I’m afraid I don’t have a non-evolutionary explanation yet.” I would answer that it is in God perfect design. As he foresaw all that has and would be.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Well, yeah, but that’s sort of an empty answer. That’s just playing the God card. The question is WHY did God design it that way. In what way is His design perfect (in regards to this).

  9. LatterDay Marriage says:

    The question is, when you get aroused like that, what is it you desire? If your desire it is for a sexual experience with your husband than I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Oh yeah, I definitely believe that all men or woman can be aroused by someone of the same sex given the right context.”

    This statement does not reflect my personal experience. I do not find a naked man appealing at all. Nor does my wife find naked women appealing (to be honest, she does not like seeing herself naked nor has she experienced an orgasm). I think many Christians who have a conservative background are like my wife and I. Just my humble opinion…

  11. alchemist says:

    J at (Hot Holy and Humorous) has a blog post where she discusses an article that found that women can get aroused by diverse stimuli. Straight men in this study were turned on by naked women, gay men by naked men, but straight women were turned on by naked women, naked men and videos of animals copulating. (The men did not show a response to the animal mating videos).

    I’ve heard that a lot of lesbian porn is watched by women. I know that there are at least two categories of anime that deals with male x male romantic (shounen-ai) and sexual situations (yaoi). The main market/ viewership for that is female (> 80%). It’s written and marketed for women. Apparently gay men find that it does not portray realistic homosexual relationships. This is not surprising, as the writers are often heterosexual females. I believe that most slash fiction (fanfiction with male-male or female-female romantic couples) is written by women as well.

    This suggests that women’s arousal is more complicated and diverse than men’s. I don’t think you find many straight men writing or drawing homosexual erotica.

    I think it’s mostly the empathy or response to the situation that’s arousing. I have accidently come across shonen-ai and random slash art (two boys or two girls) browsing through fan art sites and YouTube. There was no nudity involved, but the context was highly sexualized. I found them to be quite arousing. If I was not saved, I would probably have been watching me quite a lot of shonen-ai and possibly even yoai. Which is weird, because intellectually I find homosexual acts…unsettling. If not repulsive. IRL seeing two guys kiss produces zero arousal.

    No, getting turned on by women’s bodies does not increase your own body acceptance. For some reason, women tend to go directly into competition mode.

  12. Byron says:

    Women can be so arrogant. Saying that a woman doing Yoga is “more sensual” than of a man doing it. The writer even stated with an explanation mark that she agreed. Yes, you women are just so darn good looking and us men are a distance second. ::eye roll:: Thanks.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      The writer is a man…

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